RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - More than a dozen illegal immigrants who were convicted of sexual offenses in Virginia are now facing deportation. It's all part of a new initiative launched by federal, state, and local agencies.
It's called Operation SOAR. SOAR stands for sexual offender alien removal. Over the last five days more than 60 law enforcement officers from ICE, state police and other agencies took part in the new initiative.
Today, Governor Bob McDonnell along with the state Attorney General and the director of ICE gathered at the state capitol to announce results of the operation.
"We've also arrested 15 convicted sex offenders who are walking our streets, thirteen in Virginia and two in DC. All are now detained. All are facing removal from the United States," said ICE director, John Morton.
Another 356 were found in different prisons and jails. Officials say once those inmates complete their time behind bars they will be deported.
"People that come to America and want to commit crimes and prey on fellow citizens they need to be detained, prosecuted and deported," said Governor McDonnell.
Operation SOAR comes two years after a similar initiative that removed 171 convicted illegal immigrant sex offenders from Virginia.
"Bottom line, foreign sex offenders have no home in the commonwealth of Virginia," said Morton.
Officials say they will hold more stings under Operation SOAR in the future.